What is a scar?
Scars result when the skin repairs wounds caused by accidents or surgery. When skin is injured, our body makes collagen to fill the gap, which acts as a cement patch. There are no pores and sweat glands within this patch, making it look different from the normal surrounding skin. Scars are therefore a natural part of the healing process. Typically, a scar may appear red and thick at first, and then gradually fade. It can take as long as one to two years for some scars to fade to their final appearance.
In the first three months, most scars appear pink. This is due to an overgrowth of blood vessels within the area, which is intended to help bring a better blood supply for healing. After healing is completed, these blood vessels usually shrink and the color usually fades. Many actively healing scars that seem unsightly at three months may heal nicely if given more time.
There are several types of scars: atrophic scars, hypertrophic scars, and keloids. Atrophic scars are skin depressions or indentations. Hypertrophic scars are elevated above the skin, become thick, and remain in the bounds of the original wound. Keloids are similar to hypertrophic scars, but are more aggressive. They form because both skin cells and connective tissue cells, or fibroblasts, begin to multiply excessively to repair the damaged skin. The fibroblasts continue to multiply even after the wound is healed, causing a scar to swell and widen beyond the original mark.
The way a scar forms is affected by an individual’s age, nutrition, skin type, and genetic make-up. In addition, the location of the scar on the body or face also plays an important role in its appearance, such that scars overlying a joint or high tension area can contract and restrict movement.
In ideal situations, a scar is smooth, flat, and blends in with the surrounding skin. But a scar can be highly visible and even unattractive due to its size or location. Therefore, it’s normal to be concerned about how your scars will look following a surgical procedure.
Not being able to influence how your scars will look is frustrating; however, there are treatment methods to help minimize their appearance.
- Steristrips, or paper stitches, used over areas of high tension placed perpendicular (crossing the scar)
- Apply every 3-5 days for up to 8 weeks
- If signs of irritation, remove and notify the office
- Mederma is formulated with Cepalin, an extract that softens hardened tissue and reduces the size and redness of raised scars.
- It improves the texture, color, and overall appearance of scars.
- Apply a thin coat to the scar, and gently massage in two times a day for 8 weeks on new scars and three times a day for 3-6 months on existing scars.
- Start one week after sutures are removed
- Available over the counter for children and adults
- NewGel+E ointment is a medical grade, fast drying, hypoallergenic silicone gel with vitamin E that helps soften, flatten, smooth and fade scars. It is formulated to be used in the management of all types of scars, including hypertrophic, keloid, and scars resulting from surgical procedures, trauma/accidents, and burns.
- NewGel+E dries to form a thin, flexible, waterproof layer of silicone, creating a protective barrier with the ideal environment to manage and reduce scarring. NewGel+E works through a combination of occlusion (seals the scar from exposure to air) and hydration.
- Use NewGel+ silicone sheeting in combination with NewGel+E silicone ointment, applying one during the day and the other at night for 24 hours-a-day treatment. DO NOT USE both the ointment and the sheeting at the same time. Ideally, use NewGel+ sheeting in combination with NewGel+E ointment, applying one during the day and the other at night for 24 hours a day treatment.
- Steroid tape which is effective in softening very firm scars, including hypertrophic scars and keloids, causing them to shrink and flatten.
- The tape is cut slightly larger than the area to be covered, replacing the tape after 12 hours
- Available by prescription only.
NewGel+ Silicone Sheeting
- Silicone has been shown to be helpful in reducing the appearance, size, height, thickness, and color of scars for all skin types and color.
- NewGel+ is 100% medical grade silicone gel sheeting for managing, treating, and reducing scars. It is self-adhesive and worn directly on the scar.
- Reduces, flattens, and smoothes scars by providing a combination of occlusion, hydration, elevated skin temperature, and continuous light pressure.
- Wear minimally 8 hours and up to 24 hours per day.
- DO NOT USE both the ointment and the sheeting at the same time. Products must be worn independently. Ideally use NewGel+ sheeting in combination with NewGel+E ointment, applying one during the day and the other at night for 24 hours a day treatment.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)
- High energy light is used to remove or remodel unwanted, damaged skin, in addition to reducing redness and improving itching and burning sensations from the scar.
- Price is dependent on the total surface area and is not covered by insurance.
- Contact Nouveau Cosmetic Center at (302) 355-0005 for an evaluation
In addition, ALL scars will benefit from:
- Aids in decreasing lumpiness and desensitizing scar
- Massage the scar gently three times a day
- Scars are sensitive to sun exposure which can irritate the scar and prolong healing.
- Sunscreen should be obtained that has a physical barrier to harmful UVA/UVB rays.
- Look for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients.